"This isn't my occupation, it's my lifestyle that I live and breathe," Nik Wallenda tells PEOPLE

By Caitlin Keating
April 13, 2015 11:15 AM
Tim Boyles

The “Circle of Life” has a whole new meaning for Nik Wallenda as he heads down to Orlando at the end of the month.

On April 29, the seventh-generation tightrope artist will head to central Florida to attempt to walk the observation wheel called the Orlando Eye without a tether and a wire.

“It’s 400 ft. tall, but I don’t think I will be taking in much of the great view,” Wallenda, 36, tells PEOPLE. “I couldn’t be more excited.”

Wallenda, who has survived walking between two Chicago skyscrapers and across the Grand Canyon, says all of his walks are challenging but the one in Orlando is unique.

“The wheel is going to be moving, so I have to keep up with it,” the father of three says. “Normally I can slow down when I want to. This has been tricky to prepare for.”

The Orlando Eye

The eye is part of the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex, which is celebrating its grand opening this month. “To have Nik kick it off is very cool and very unique,” James Paulding from the Merlin Entertainment Group says.

Wallenda’s team created a wheel, which they suspend back and forth, to let Wallenda practice.

“Honestly, the best training and practice will end up being when I do it for real,” says Wallenda, who has been walking the wire since he was 2. “I mentally just go over in my head me doing it over and over again.”

At the end of the day he says he doesn’t get too anxious because it’s his choice to do this.

“This is what I was born to do,” he says. “The night before the walk, I will have a good meal and try and get a good night’s sleep. I hope I can do it.”

He adds that he also has a personal reason for his death-defying feats: “My 17-year-old son told me he wants to do one big walk before he goes off to the military. To think I’m doing this and inspiring my children at the same time is pretty special.”

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